Motion on voting rights of employees on local contracts

At present the MSF International Internal Rules state: ‘Employees on local contracts should not vote in local board elections for reasons of conflict of Interests’

Proposed motion:
In order to avoid potential conflict of interest by locally contracted staff on the governance of associations, MSF Hong Kong General Assembly believes employees on local contracts shall not have full voting rights in the Board election of MSF Hong Kong. MSF Hong Kong also recommends that this principle should apply to all Institutional Members of MSF International. Before the 2017 IGA, the Board of MSF Hong Kong shall explore different possibilities, including weighted voting, to dilute the potential undue influence of staff on local contracts on voting in the MSF Hong Kong Board elections, the budget and the appointment of the auditors.

Submitted by the board of MSF Hong Kong


MSF Hong Kong is one of the Institutional Members (IM) of MSF International, hence is required to adhere to the common criteria set out in the MSF International Statutes (IS). The common criteria create the baseline of a governance system aimed at managing the MSF movement, its evolution and growth, as well as interactions between the various kinds of entities. In order to be fully effective, all Institutional Members must strive to preserve the coherence of the MSF governance system and be pro‑active in its implementation.

If IMs could not meet the common criteria, they were asked in 2014 International General Assembly (IGA) to report exceptions to the common criteria to the International Board (IB) for consideration. In 2014 IGA, the MSF Associations’ statutes and exceptions policy is approved in which sets the frame of the exception process and common criteria. The individual voting rights for employees with local contracts is one of the identified common criteria at 2014 IGA.

Following the 2014 IGA motion on Statutes and Exceptions, the IB has reviewed the exceptions to the IS as reported by IM as well as the level of compliance with common criteria. As a result of that review, the 2015 IGA voted a set of motions in order to harmonise national statutes in compliance with the membership criteria set out in the international statutes and internal rules. However, the issues of local contracts were not dealt with in 2015 IGA. Having further reviewed the issue, the IB has made the following recommendation at 2016 motion:

Motion: The IB recommends that the IGA call on all Institutional Members to strive to comply with the international requirement in the Internal Rules Annex 2 which states that employees on local contracts should not vote in local board elections. Where appropriate, this should be included in the domestic internal rules of associations by the 2017 IGA.

Justifications: To ensure the overall credibility of the MSF movement, potential conflicts of Interest must be addressed to ensure the strength and accountability of the governance structures of Institutional Members. In order to avoid potential undue influence by locally contracted staff on the governance of associations, staff on local contracts should not take part in the election of their local board members.

The IB recognises that national laws may prevent some institutional members from complying with the IR. In the event an Institutional Member cannot comply, it will inform the IB of this before the end of 2016 and provide an explanation about:

  • How they have defined ‘local contracts’ in their association;
  • How the national laws prevent them from complying
  • What steps they will take to prevent potential conflicts of interest in their national governance.

The motion is adjourned at IGA 2016 and will come back to IGA 2017 for decision.  As the board of MSF Hong Kong, we believe it is essential to open this discussion at associative level and help MSF Hong Kong come to a consensus before the voting at IGA 2017.  


By: Jennifer Wong